Motivation: Why Your Sofa is a Scratching Post
Dave Wilson, director of Shelter Health and Wellness for the Ontario SPCA and retired vet, says whenever observing negative cat behaviour, like peeing outside the litterbox, or scratching, it’s important to step back and ask yourself why your pet is acting that way.
When it comes to scratching, Wilson says what you may think of as your cat getting back at you, could actually just be their natural behaviour.
He says one of the reasons cats scratch is because they like the texture of a surface. Cats can also scratch to help shed the outer covering of their nails, or to stretch out their shoulders and spine.
“Very similar to us, hanging from a bar and letting yourself hang there to stretch out,” he says.
Sometimes, Wilson says scratching can be behaviourally motivated. Let’s say your cat is indoors by your sofa, which looks out on a window. From there, your cat sees an outdoor cat peeing on a bush. Your cat may respond by scratching in this case to mark their territory.
Wilson says cats also have scent glands in and around their feet, which helps motivate them to mark their territory in that way from other cats.
“They can leave behind little scent markers,” he says.
This only “scratches” the surface of cat motivation, but hopefully it helps next time your kitty does something you aren’t too impressed about!